Appendix N

Anyone with a copy of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1e) Dungeon Master’s Guide is probably familiar with Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading. Gary Gygax listed the books that he considered instrumental in forming his vision of a fantasy world, the vision that eventually took shape in the game we all know and love.

It’s easy enough to produce a list of excellent fantasy books, but I thought that some of those who never saw this list before might be interested in seeing which books Gary thought worthy of including.

Sadly, I have only read a few of these. Although I prefer fantasy RPGs, my reading tastes lean more towards science fiction (as well as science journals, and web design related materials). Lately though, I have been reading the Gord the Rogue series and have found it fascinating. So much so that I’ve found a newborn desire to read as many of these old classics as I can locate.

Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading

Inspiration for all of the fantasy work I have done stems directly from the love my father showed when I was a tad, for he spent many hours telling me stories he made up as he went along, tales of cloaked old men who could grant wishes, of magic rings and enchanted swords, or wicked sorcerers and dauntless swordsmen. Then too, countless hundreds of comic books went down, and the long-gone EC ones certainly had their effect. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror movies were a big influence. In fact, all of us tend to get ample helpings of fantasy when we are very young, from fairy tales such as those written by the Brothers Grimm and Andrew Lang. This often leads to reading books of mythology, paging through bestiaries, and consultation of compilations of the myths of various lands and peoples. Upon such a base I built my interest in fantasy, being an avid reader of all science fiction and fantasy literature since 1950. The following authors were of particular inspiration to me. In some cases I cite specific works, in others, I simply recommend all their fantasy writing to you. From such sources, as well as just about any other imaginative writing or screenplay you will be able to pluck kernels from which grows the fruits of exciting campaigns. Good reading!

– Gary Gygax

Anderson, PohlThree Hearts & Three Lions
The High Crusade
The Broken Sword
Bellairs, JohnThe Face In The Frost
Brackett, Leigh
Brown, Fredric
Burroughs, Edgar Rice“Pellucidar” series
Mars series
Venus series
Carter, Lin“World’s End” series
De Camp, L. SpragueLest Darkness Fall
Fallible Fiend
De Camp & Pratt“Harold Shea” series
Carnelian Cube
Derleth, August
Dunsany, Lord
Farmer, P. J.“The World of Tiers” series
Fox, Gardner“Kothar” series
“Kyrik” series
Howard, R.E.“Conan” series
Lanier, SterlingHiero’s Journey
Leiber, Fritz“Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” series
Lovecraft, H.P.
Merritt, A.Creep, Shadow, Creep
Moon Pool
Dwellers In The Mirage
Moorcock, MichaelStormbringer
Stealer of Souls
“Hawkmoon” series (esp. the first three books)
Norton, Andre
Offutt, Andrew J.(editor) Swords Against Darkness III
Pratt, FletcherBlue Star
Saberhagen, FredChangeling Earth
St. Clair, MargaretThe Shadow People
Sign of the Labrys
Tolkien, J.R.R.The Hobbit
“Ring Trilogy”
Vance, JackThe Eyes of the Overworld
The Dying Earth
Weinbaum, Stanley
Wellman, Manly Wade
Williamson, Jack
Zelazny, RogerJack of Shadows
“Amber” series

The most immediate influences upon AD&D were probably de Camp & Pratt, REH, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, HPL, and A. Merritt; but all of the above authors, as well as many not listed, certainly helped to shape the form of the game. For this reason, and for the hours of reading enjoyment, I heartily recommend the works of these fine authors to you.

– Gary Gygax

What Books Would You Add?

I’m sure most people would add the Harry Potter series. Beyond that I think I would add the Dune series (the first three books) as an example of a desert people. Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel, although a science fiction story, is (I believe) the origin of the Illithids (Mind Flayers). Many attribute this race to a book by H.P. Lovecraft (whose name I can’t recall and have never read), but Heinlein’s evil aliens closely resemble Illithids in many ways. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series is quite inspiring as well. Oh, how could I forget Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant or Mirror of Her Dreams series.

Anne McCaffrey“Dragonriders of Pern” series
Frank Herbert“Dune” series
J.K. Rowling“Harry Potter” series
Robert HeinleinHave Space Suit, Will Travel
Stephan Donaldson“Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” series
“Mirror of Her Dreams’ series

That’s my short list. I’m sure I left out dozens. What other fantasy books would you include?